The International Eisteddfod is an extraordinary culture event. At one level it feels like a local Llangollen community do but on another level there are also amazing singers, dancers, drummers from all over the world. Our first time at the Eisteddfod last year was a ground-breaking experience and this visit went even further.
Everybody seemed to have a special cheer for Manchester, as Chrissie and Mike had discovered at the opening ceremony and the town parade on Thursday and Friday. Then Tudor, our tireless organiser, had a very welcoming message on Facebook from an Eistedfodd steward saying ‘it was great to see something positive coming from Manchester at such a horrific time.’ Without meaning to, we were standard bearers for Manchester’s message of hope.
So there was a poignancy to our singing ‘You’re the voice’ with its heartfelt message of not giving into fear, and our classic song ‘John Ball’ with its focus on social equality seemed so timely. There was a good spirit to our singing and humour too, and when we really hit the spot the audience responded strongly.
A new development for us was the chance to sing live on BBC Radio Wales – about 3pm on Saturday if you want to hear us on catch up. Afterwards Welsh people’s concern for Manchester residents after the Arena bomb was echoed when Liz our choir director was interviewed by Connie Fisher, the radio presenter. In the same live interview, Annie O’Malley talked well about what it meant to be a member of our choir.
Besides our 2 sets we had a chance to see and hear other choirs – I especially enjoyed the South Notts Mens Chorus and the Llangollen Male Voice choir and the high school drummers from Indonesia.
Our visit ended with a spirited performance in the open air in the town centre of Llangollen, in front of the war memorial and an appreciative crowd who included Alison Crutchley who was clearly touched by our singing of ‘You’re the voice’ which she had arranged for us.
Blog by William West
Photos by Viv Newman